Question about Anonymous Flagging

I’m not comfortable with the anonymous flagging, but I understand your rationale for it. At a minimum what I would like to see required is the stated reason for hiding.

I have seen many hidden posts that were so innocuous that the reason for being hidden is obscured. At times it can seem a tool for those that like playing hall monitor to hide opinions that they don’t like.

Moderators do have the ability to view and review flags. While we respect the anonymity of the flag, we will share the reason with the poster. There are case where posts are flagged that we agree are innocuous and, in those cases, can delete the flag. Not liking a post is not a reason to get rid of it.


But why not share the reason with the community as well, by including the reason for which the post has been hidden?

On the more egregious posts it’s obvious — but for borderline cases, where it’s not clear, it would be helpful to everyone to know how forum guidelines have been transgressed.

Also, sorry if this is slightly OT !

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This seems like something well worth talking about, so I moved ti someplace that was more appropriate!

While we do not try to HIDE anything, we do try to keep everything as civil as possible. the last thing we want to do is host a place where people are arguing about opinions of what is acceptable or is flagging hurt someones feelings. Our solution is to have written rules and offer a forum that is capable of self-correcting. At the end of the day, a handful of us use our best judgement when needed to settle rare issues like flags that are not obvious infringements on our rules.

I do understand your request, but we honestly believe that the system we have prevents more bullying and pressuring than it allows.

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Thanks for moving the topic @TheOnlyAaron — I realized at the end of my second post that I had (unwittingly) transgressed the no hi-jacking rule!

I’m all for keeping things civil, and I recognize that maintaining a functioning, non-toxic forum environment in the on-line world is a rare thing — for which you (personally) and your colleagues (particularly Colin and Jody) deserve much credit, as the most forward-facing members of the SU team.

We actually have a paucity of trolling compared to most on-line communities — if anything I think the forum is more dominated by fan-boys (I don’t mean that in a demeaning way).

But because of that I find that some (non-trolling) hidden posts seem to simply be more critical of Trimble as a company or SU as a product — so the flagging is a setting of bounds by people who’ve taken the criticism as personal insult.

I think that making it clear to all why a post is hidden — while allowing the flagger to remain anonymous — might move us closer to the delicate balance that you’re trying to maintain.

And thanks for the civil discourse :slight_smile:


Thanks for splitting this off Aaron and thanks for staying civil as well db (also thanks for using “paucity” in a sentence, #MakeEnglishGreatAgain.)

I will honestly say there is no intent to silence those who dissent, the parent thread this topic started in should hopefully illustrate that. It is a difficult path to tread, allowing the community to speak their mind even when it’s negative about our company or product. There isn’t some top down effort to silence negativity. As I stated in the other thread, we are not going through and actively flagging negativity. Both Aaron and myself react to flags that are raised, but spend very little time policing the forum otherwise.

As far as when a post gets hidden, there is a trust level that everyone has within the community. The more active a user is, the more weight to their votes. It is not uncommon that when I see a flag, it’s already hidden because there were enough people with enough weight to have already voted it into oblivion. Because of this mechanism, the flagging and messaging to the offender is all automated.

I am of two minds about breaching the anonymity of flags, sometimes “friends” are flagging one another to keep the tone civil or the on topic and can appreciate that they don’t want to anger one another. Also, truly, I haven’t seen an option that would allow the automated hiding of posts to show WHO flagged it (especially since there are often multiple flags.)

I WOULD like to have a better system that shows why a post was flagged and will look further into what Discourse will allow us to do. It would also be nice if I can find a way to see/say how many people have flagged a post.

Lastly, Aaron, myself and all SketchUp members are humans… try as we might to be otherwise. Sometimes we’re attacked and it can be hard to remain fair and unbiased when that happens. I strive to stay level headed, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. That will typically result in one of two things; I agree with a petty flag and let something get hidden, or I try too hard to not censor someone and end up allowing issues to escalate. I think it’s easy for the community to think that we, as employees, are heartless/mindless automatons that are here to enforce the will of our corporate masters. That isn’t the case.

Anyway, I’ve run on a bit long. I’ll continue my efforts to be a better human as well as a better administrator of the features of this forum. Hopefully everyone will stick around as that happens. (c:


Enhancements in this area would be nice. I have seen a fair number of flagged/hidden posts for which I cannot see what was inappropriate or objectionable. If a short reason was given (by the flagger) and visible (to the flagee certainly, maybe to all), I might discover viewpoints which I hadn’t appreciated before.

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Much appreciated reply Jody.

As I said to Aaron, I do understand the rationale for anonymity of flagger — but not for obscurity of reason.

And I do understand the fine line that you guys must tread, as both representatives of the company and as individual humans who are proud of their work — and have their own opinions. I think for the most part that you three in particular do an exemplary job of it.

It would be great if there turns out to be an easy way for Discourse to show why / how many for flagged posts. Maybe @DanRathbun knows? (since he seems to have dug deeply into the bowels of Discourse)

Also want to take the chance to tell you and @TheOnlyAaron how much I enjoy the livestreams - even though I usually have to post-watch on YouTube. You’re both great ambassadors for the brand and product.

Whoops - there I go OT again!

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You need to understand that this forum is designed, created and hosted by
They are the ones who identify the rationale for various features.

The reason is obvious. Flame war, retaliation, bullying and offensive PMs sent to the flagger.
All of which have happened to me when I’ve admitted to flagging. There are people who just cannot be bothered to follow rules (and say so) much less even ever read them.

I will freely admit that I regularly flag posts that violate the forum rules, no matter who is the transgressor. Yes, this means I’ve even flagged Trimble employees who go off-topic or lose their temper and vent. I also flagged Sages more times than I can count.
And I’m not innocent either. I’ve slipped up and been flagged myself several times. It happens. We are all human (I think.)

A flag is not a slap in the face, it’s a kick in the pants. A formal request to fix a post or cease interfering with a topic.

So delete your post, or move it to the appropriate category, etc., and move on. (If you’re not the poster you can still read the post for a few days by clicking the “View ignored content” link. But if the post is not corrected by the author, then the system will delete it after a certain time period.)

I think I may have made this suggestion over at the meta.discourse forums.
Instead of just saying “This post has been hidden by the community.” it could add …

  • “as being off-topic”
  • “as being inappropriate”
  • “as containing spam or advertisements”

… etc., so those reading can know.

I can’t remember if the private message sent to a “flagged” member lists the reason or not. I seem to remember thinking that it was very vague and did not give much information as to how to correct the issue.

ADD: For those interested in the UX discussions about flags …


Thanks Dan.

This is exactly what I’d like to see. If we had that and the number of readers who flagged, there’s no need for individual names.

Thinking about it now, rather than impute the reason by learning the name of the flagger, knowing directly the reason is much less vulnerable to misapprehension and/or abuse.

+1. But one reason shouldn’t be shown: I have flagged posts that have contained either personal details that expose the poster to spammers and scammers or other sensitive info, like SketchUp license details. I sort of squirm when thinking that even after my flagging anyone can still read it for some time.

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Currently, when you set a flag you’ve only got a few easy choices. Ie …

Only the “Something Else” choice allows the flagger to enter a custom reason.
But Only the SketchUp staff member reviewing the flag will see it.

I don’t do this unless truly there is a special reason or I know staff needs to get involved immediately.

If the post fits one of the standard first 3, I’ll use those so that automated system administration can take it’s course.

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Test post that I will flag myself, and use the first option.
(Nope they don’t let us send a private message to ourselves via the flag.)

[REVISED to unhide.]

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I just flagged the post above as being inappropiate. :grinning:

Edit: some users have more power then others. The ones with the most powers have the ‘Leader’ badge:

@discobot has more power than most of the SketchUp team!

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Hi! To find out what I can do, say @discobot display help.

I also flagged the post above, but it needs more flagging to get it hidden, I guess:

It’d be nice with a way to flag the flagging or “unflag” a post flagged by others. Usually flagged posts should be flagged but every now and then I see one that maybe probably shouldn’t be.


That’s a very interesting idea. A number of times I have though that flagging of a particular post was unnecessary (i.e., the flagged post did not deserve to be hidden or deleted). Sometimes it feels to me that the flag feature is used as a “don’t-like” button.

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And the message sent by the system is …

… so it does give the basic reason for the hiding, but not a specific reason.

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